Embark on an extraordinary Antarctic journey filled with unparalleled adventure and exploration. This ultimate voyage takes you through captivating subantarctic islands, steeped in human history and home to distinctive wildlife. Venture into the remote reaches of the Antarctic Peninsula, traversing the coveted Antarctic Circle. Experience Zodiac cruises through expansive ice-covered landscapes, visit dynamic penguin colonies, spot whales, and delve into the fascinating history of this remarkable region.
Upon arrival in Ushuaia, a representative will transfer you to your pre-voyage hotel. If you're already in Ushuaia, proceed to your hotel. Check-in begins at 3:00 pm. In the afternoon, visit the hospitality desk at Las Hayas Ushuaia Resort between 3:00 pm and 7:00 pm to collect luggage tags and confirm your participation in the Beagle Channel and Isla de Los Lobos Cruise scheduled for tomorrow. The team will provide embarkation details, address queries, and offer information on dining or last-minute purchases.
Expeditioners arriving after 7:00 pm will find a welcome pack at check-in and should visit the hospitality desk between 8:00 am and 10:00 am the next day.
The rest of the day is free. All meals today are self-funded.
Assigned accommodations: Las Hayas Ushuaia Resort or Los Acebos Ushuaia Hotel.
As we embark on the crossing of the Drake Passage, we acclimate to the sea's movements. The expedition team readies you for the initial landing with crucial wildlife guidelines and biosecurity procedures, initiating the lecture program to enhance your understanding of Antarctica's history, wildlife, and environment.
Wildlife encounters commence as we observe and photograph numerous seabirds, including majestic albatrosses and giant petrels trailing the vessel. On sea days, you can enjoy onboard facilities like the gym, sauna, jacuzzis, or unwind in the observation lounges.
Approaching the South Shetland Islands and the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula on the afternoon of day four, excitement builds as everyone gathers on observation decks, anticipating the first iceberg sighting. The ocean's perspective transforms below the Antarctic Convergence, surrounded by surreal floating ice sculptures. The memory of your initial encounter with a significant iceberg is likely to endure a lifetime. If conditions permit, we may attempt the first landing in Antarctica by late afternoon.
Describing the sensation of arriving in Antarctica is nearly impossible. Witnessing your first iceberg and breathing in the incredibly fresh, crisp air is an experience that will etch itself into your memory forever.
Once we reach the destination, the western side of the Antarctic Peninsula and the South Shetland Islands await exploration, offering a multitude of choices. Being so far south, we'll encounter approximately 18-24 hours of daylight, allowing for busy days as desired.
Your seasoned expedition team, with their extensive journeys to the area, will expertly plan your daily voyage, selecting the best options based on prevailing weather, ice conditions, and wildlife opportunities.
Typically, we make landings or embark on Zodiac excursions twice a day. It's advisable to bundle up before joining Zodiac cruises along spectacular ice cliffs or amidst grounded icebergs, keeping an eye out for whales, seals, and porpoising penguins. Zodiacs will also transport you from the ship to land, where you can visit penguin rookeries, explore historic huts, and discover favorite spots along the peninsula.
While ashore, the aim is to stretch your legs, strolling along pebbly beaches or ascending snow-covered ridgelines to vantage points with towering mountains overhead and ice-speckled oceans below. If you've chosen an optional activity, you can participate whenever conditions allow, and avid polar plungers will have the chance for a fully immersive experience in polar waters—conditions permitting! The polar plunge can happen at any time during the voyage, so be attentive to announcements from the expedition team and prepare for the most exhilarating dip of your life!
Beyond Zodiac cruises and shore excursions, we may cruise through narrow, dramatic straits separating offshore islands from the mainland or linger in scenic bays to observe whales traveling or feeding. This is an ideal time to enjoy the observation lounge or head to the bridge (open at the captain’s discretion) for uninterrupted views of Antarctica in all its splendor. Listen for the creak and deep rumble of glaciers as they carve into the sea. Take a quiet moment to revel in the wonder of the pristine paradise of the splendid white continent.
During this voyage, under favorable conditions, we plan to cross the Antarctic Circle—an imaginary line located at latitude 66°33' south. This is a special highlight for many expeditioners, celebrated with a toast on deck (conditions permitting). You'll gain bragging rights, joining a select group of adventurers who have explored this part of the world. Approaching The Circle, you'll notice subtle changes in the landscape and wildlife distribution. The waters, rich with krill, offer the hope of seeing plenty of whales, particularly humpbacks and minkes. We also anticipate enjoying the spectacle of penguins feeding their ravenous chicks.
En route to South Georgia, we'll navigate the Scotia Sea, retracing the path that Shackleton and five of his men took to seek help for their stranded crew. On April 24, 1916, they embarked on the perilous journey in the James Caird, their most seaworthy lifeboat, covering a distance of 1290 kilometers (802 miles) to reach South Georgia. Shackleton aimed to reach the destination in two weeks, seeking assistance from whalers to return to Elephant Island and rescue the remaining crew members.
Anticipation grows for South Georgia—join fellow expeditioners in the bar, stay vigilant for marine wildlife, or immerse yourself in more tales of the Shackleton story from the historian.
“Nearly always there were gales. So small was our boat and so great were the seas that often our sail flapped idly in the calm between the crests of two waves. Then we would climb the next slope and catch the full fury of the gale where the wool-like whiteness of the breaking water surged around us.”
- Ernest Shackleton
Approaching the rugged island of South Georgia, reflect on Captain James Cook's 1775 arrival, envisioning it as the northern tip of a vast southern continent. Despite being a relatively small island, measuring 176 km (110 mi) in length, South Georgia boasts a 3,000 m (9,842 ft) snow-capped mountain range, hosts some of the world’s largest wildlife congregations, and possesses a captivating human history, making it a truly enriching destination.
As you approach, steep jagged mountain peaks emerge, accompanied by soaring seabirds around the ship. Sail along the coast to marvel at the stunning glaciated scenery, offering an enchanting coastline for exploration.
Before joining Zodiac cruises around craggy coves and the rocky coastline to spot porpoising penguins, seal haul-outs, and bird cliffs, ensure you layer up. Keep an eye out for South Georgia’s mesmerizing kelp forests, where fronds sway gracefully on the water's surface.
Zodiacs will transport you to shore, providing opportunities to visit some of Earth's largest king penguin colonies, take guided walks among fur seals and elephant seals (following guide instructions for safety), and wander along pebbled streams and grassy glacial outwash plains. Visits to the remnants of South Georgia’s thriving whaling stations and paying respects to Sir Ernest Shackleton, synonymous with the island's incredible survival voyage, are also on the agenda. If you've opted for optional activities, you can participate whenever conditions permit.
The expedition also aims to cruise through fjords with towering cliffs of ancient stone or into deeply indented bays towards dramatic glacier fronts. This is an ideal time to find a comfortable spot in the observation lounge or head to the bridge for uninterrupted views of South Georgia’s majestic coast.
While sailing towards the Falklands~Malvinas, there are numerous activities to engage in onboard.
The expedition team will persist in imparting their extensive knowledge about wildlife, history, and the natural world through the onboard lecture series. You'll have plenty of time to delight in observing seabirds from the ship's stern, remain vigilant for whales and other marine wildlife, or simply relish the various facilities at your disposal on the ship.
The time of arrival in the Falklands~Malvinas today will be determined by sea and weather conditions.
The Falklands~Malvinas consist of two large islands (East and West Falkland), along with over 700 islands scattered off the coast. Except for seven, all of these islands are uninhabited, featuring windswept coastlines, white sand beaches, and crystal-clear water. These desolately beautiful islands serve as true wildlife havens, hosting a remarkable diversity of birdlife, including the world's largest black-browed albatross colony. The cold, nutrient-rich waters surrounding the islands make it an ideal location for observing marine life.
There are numerous captivating areas to explore in the Falklands~Malvinas, each offering a distinct perspective on this splendid archipelago. Your seasoned expedition team, with their extensive experience in the region, will leverage their expertise to plan your daily voyage, selecting optimal options based on prevailing winds, weather conditions, and wildlife opportunities.
Despite being north of the Antarctic Convergence, the region can be quite chilly, so it's advisable to layer up before participating in Zodiac cruises into rocky coves or along sea cliffs, keeping a lookout for seals, sea lions, dolphins, and penguins. During landings, we may visit albatross colonies, penguin rookeries, and even partake in a traditional English ‘tea and scones’ experience at a local cottage.
Conditions permitting, our goal is to land in historic Stanley, the capital of the Falklands~Malvinas. This charming town exudes a distinctly British character, featuring terraced town houses, pioneer cottages, and an iconic red telephone box. Vibrant buildings house welcoming cafes, English pubs, souvenir shops, a post office, and the intriguing Historic Dockyard Museum, showcasing exhibits on the maritime history of the Falkland Islands, natural history, and connections to Antarctica.
While sailing towards Ushuaia, you have the option to spend your valuable time editing photos, making the most of the onboard facilities, or attending final lectures. Conclude an unforgettable voyage by joining newfound friends at a special Captain’s farewell dinner.
Despite completing the Antarctic experience with lectures and film presentations, there's ample time to relish the magic of the Southern Ocean and its diverse wildlife. This period allows for reflection and discussions on what we've witnessed and experienced. We hope you'll become ambassadors for the Antarctic region, sharing your journey with family, friends, and colleagues, advocating for its conservation and preservation, so they too may one day have the chance to experience the wonders you've been fortunate to witness and participate in.
In the early morning, we sail up the Beagle Channel before quietly docking in Ushuaia, allowing passengers to disembark around 8.00 am. Bid farewell to the expedition team and fellow passengers as everyone continues their onward journeys, hopefully with a newfound appreciation for the immense power of nature.
Upon disembarkation, passengers with flights departing before 12.30 pm will be directly transferred to Ushuaia Airport, while those continuing their travels in the region will be taken to their post-voyage Ushuaia accommodation. Passengers with flights after 12.30 pm can explore Ushuaia before an afternoon airport transfer, with details provided onboard before disembarkation.
Note: It is advisable not to book flights departing Ushuaia before 12.00 pm on the day of disembarkation to account for potential delays.